PROTESTS AND POLICE
BRUTALITY IN TWO
Did Toronto citizens deserve the destructive mayhem wrought by protest activities which media and police monitors theorized were introduced by anarchist group Black Bloc and other violent protesters demonstrating against G-8 and G-20 Summiteers? Certainly, the issues against poverty and market globalisation are stark, and must be focused on. But at whose expense?
Who is helping this child-worker to express his protest (more like a prayer. See picture below). Who is protecting his right to a decent life that must frown on abject child-labour slavery?
Will the Black Bloc be there, too? Will the Canadian Civil Liberties Association lend its "rage" to call attention to police brutality like those in the photograph? Of course, there is a difference between Bangladesh and the constitutionally-protected Canadian societies, eh?
Maybe one country's police action may be "more benign" than the other, Eh? What is wrong with these pictures? Eh?
(Click on image and text to zoom in.)
(Photo courtesy of AFP/Getty Images by Munir Uz Zaman as reproduced in The Toronto Star, July 1, 2010)
Last June 26, protesters against the G-8 and G-20 Summits held in Canada battled police in the streets of Toronto. Police manning the conference security responded by restraining demonstators and attempted to confine them in "secured areas". While they did, some protesters burned a couple of police cars, bashed the shield-and-baton-wielding constables with bowling balls and bricks, and shattered the display windows of some 50 stores along the demonstration routes.
Caught flatfooted by the sudden violence, police used force to arrest some 900 protesters, detained some, charged them, and freed some after as long as 12-hour detentions. Job done, the police were the object of critical rage in subsequent days. Police brutality was alleged by media and protest spokesmen.
In its executive summary of "A Breach of the Peace," the Canadian Civil Liberties Association released its report on June 30 decrying:
"It is the opinion of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association that police conduct during the G20 summit was, at times, disproportionate, arbitrary, and excessive. . . .June 26 represents a turning point. Widespread property damage was committed by a cohort of vandals in the downtown of Toronto on that day. We condemn this criminal activity and acknowledge that it warranted a response by police. The response which police provided, however, was unprecedented, disproportionate and, at times, unconstitutional."
Police must use kid gloves, must be kinder, must be "nicer" to vandals in Toronto streets. Is that it CCLA?
The proverbial civil rights devotees roamed the streets thereafter and condemned police action. Today, Canada Day, the "less violent demonstrators" staged sporadic street-corner demonstrations and demanded the release of all arrested protesters.
Meanwhile, last June 28, "protesting garment workers in the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka were fired upon by police with tear gas and water cannons at the workers who sew for some of the top labels in clothing. The protests were over poor wages and working conditions." (The Toronto Star, July 1, Pg. 17. See accompanying AFP/Getty Image shot by Munir Uz Zaman.)
G-8 and G-20 issues are larger issues; they trump the poor's wages and working conditions. No one this side of the world has barked at the Bangladeshi government. Yet.
Will there be some who will realise that if society cannot defend the democratic rights of this child-worker, no amount of summits or civil rights demonstrations could?
The police were there, but no G-8 or G-20 leaders were around to take the cudgels for the "exploited garment workers" who include children as young as six years old, part of the "child slave labour" civil libertarians should be storming parliaments and govenrments for until the abomination ends.
So, what is the difference between these two photographs of street mayhem with police at both ends of violence?
(Click on the image to zoom in on text and picture.)
Vive la difference? Eh?
Happy Canada Day, in any case.